Why NOW is the Best Time to Start a Local Blog
What’s the saying? When one door closes, another one opens. Yep. That’s what’s happening right now:
Average weekday circulation at 379 daily newspapers was down 10.6% in the first half of 2009, compared to the first half of 2008. Ouch. 24 of the top 25 US newspapers suffered circulation losses in the first half of 2009. Double ouch. Some of those declines were more than 20%. Triple ouch. The Nieman Lab post puts this into perspective:
“The 10.6-percent decline means that since last year, about 4.5 percent of U.S. households have given up reading a printed newspaper, and that printed newspapers now reach less than 40 percent of U.S. households.”
Don’t get me wrong, please. I subscribe to and read our local newspaper every day, even if they do disrespect local bloggers. I’m not rooting for newspapers to fail. Okay? Okay.
But let’s face it: For local bloggers, this is an Opportunity. With a capital “o.” When I wrote about why hyperlocal blogging works, decline of the traditional media was high on that list. If you’re thinking about starting a hyperlocal news blog, there’s no better time than now to do it. Here’s why:
- Your neighbors are starting to shift their news-reading habits. The web will soon replace traditional media as the primary source of news.
- Traditional media is struggling, newspapers especially. The numbers above offer plenty of evidence.
- Not only are papers struggling, but many of them haven’t yet figured out how to elegantly transition to the web. Chances are good that there’s a void in your area where online news is concerned.
- Building an audience typically takes time. Your local blog probably won’t be an instant success. Start now, get those beginner’s mistakes out of the way, and get into a routine. Learn what works and what doesn’t in your hometown, and keep doing the former.
This shift from traditional media to online media is still in progress. Over time, more and more of your neighbors will turn to the Internet for local news and information. If you start now, you’ll be better prepared to give them what they want when they find you. Don’t wait. Do it. Go.